Friday, April 22, 2011

Drugstore duds - Kate by Kanebo BB and Shiseido Majolica Eyes Reset Gel

These were such a disappointment!  I've been meaning to try the Majolica line for ages and today when I popped into Guardian I noticed they also had Kate by Kanebo BB.  I have been insisting I wouldn't try the BB thing - I keep reading about it everywhere, but I had it down as being not for me.  But I love Kanebo and I'm a sucker for some clean looking packaging so I decided to give it a go.

The Eyes Reset Gel is a eye make-up remover gel, that feels really heavy on silicone.  The texture is pleasant enough and it worked well enough, but it stung like hell and made my eyes go all cloudy - it literally blinded me and then took ages to wash out.  Bummer.

The BB is better, in that it doesn't hurt (!), but it did nothing for me at all.  I thought the idea of BB was a peachy glow to the skin, less than foundation but a complexion enhancer.  This was way too white, even for my ghostly visage, and did nothing for me at all.  It has got me thinking about peachy complexion enhancers though, which I have a vague memory of buying many moons ago.  I seem to remember sending off to some French brand by mail order and buying huge amounts of products just to get some cult product peachy cream that was supposed to make me *glow*, and instead made me go "oh...".

I had really high hopes for both these brands.  I guess I'm not their target customer - I'm not Asian and I'm over 30 - but I don't really see these working on anyone.  I have heard good things about the Majolica mascara so maybe that's my next cheap thrill...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Family Heirloom repaired (sort of)

This is my Grandma's engagement ring, given to her by my late Grandad sometime in the 1940s.  The ring was given to my Mum when I was a little girl, but I can never remember it having a stone in the middle and for a long time it sat in a drawer in the kitchen looking sad and lonely.  It was passed to me, by my Mum, about 5 years ago and I took it to a jewelers in Hatton Garden in London to have it repaired.  The jeweler put a very pretty opal in it, which fell out on the same day.  I, like my Mum before me, gave up and stuck it in a drawer in my bedroom.

But recently I've been thinking about it again, mainly because I thought it would be lovely to give to my daughter when she's all grown up.  It has little value, although it is made of platinum and has small diamond chips in it, I can't imagine it has much of a resale value.  But the sentimental value is huge and we are not a family loaded down with family jewels.

I tried a jewelers at Lucky Plaza on Orchard Road who said they could not do anything with it - the ring is weak and beyond repair it seems.  But they suggested I try Jewel Harbour, a small workshop on the fourth floor, who might be able to help me.  The staff seemed rather annoyed with me for wanting to rescue this sad old ring, but they listened to my story and said they could glue a pearl in to at least give it a centre again.

So that's what I ended up with.  To be honest, I do not love it (the opal looked much prettier, albeit with the crucial flaw of falling straight out), but at least it is no longer an empty vessel.  I am now in two minds - to put it back in the drawer or try again and look for someone else who will give it the TLC I think it deserves...

Peg Perego P3 Stroller

When I was pregnant I remember discussing with someone which stroller I should get.  The choice as I saw it at the time was the Bugaboo Chameleon or Quinny Buzz and he, an experienced dad of two, laughed and told me not to worry too much about it because I'd end up buying more than one anyway.  I thought this was nonsense, why would you need two?  But now my little bundle of joy is not yet one year old and already I'm on stroller number three.

Number One was the Bugaboo, an awesome design, built like a tank and feels totally safe.  But it is as heavy as a tank too and getting it in and out of a car boot is painful, both figuratively and literally.  Traveling on a plane with it is even more of a labour of love, which is when we turned to number two, the Maclaren Quest, which is lightweight and folds up really small, but feels way too shaky for my liking and has no storage to stash your purchases.

So when I spotted the Peg Perego, which feels big enough to protect little feet, but also folds down into one piece and has a huge storage bag I was sold.  And it doesn't hurt that it's bright red and has Made In Italy written in big letters on it - babba needs to travel in style! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Malin+Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser

This is another San Francisco purchase, this time from Barneys.  Amazingly I was the only person in the store on a Saturday morning, which meant I got a little too much assistant attention for my liking - I like a nice anonymous browse round a department store, like the true Brit I am.

I'd actually gone into Barneys to look at Valextra bags, but they were all locked behind glass and two sales assistants were hovering around me checking out my every move so I headed down to the basement to look at the beauty department.  I'd been meaning to get this cleanser in Singapore ever since a facialist at Spa Esprit recommended it to me.  I really like this, it cleanses well, doesn't sting my eyes and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin or leave my face feeling tight.  That's it though - I can't say there's anything hugely special about this, it's just effective.

btw when I took this to the cashier the first thing she said was, "Have you tried their deodorant?"!  Errr, no, why, do I need it?!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tory Burch Troy Stripe Sweater

And here I am looking rather fetching, don't you think?  Only joking, alas, I have a few years and a few kilos on this whippersnapper.  I bought this (and...ahem...a few other things) at the Tory Burch store in San Francisco and got the most fantastic customer service.  I basically walked in on a cold and rainy Saturday morning and told the assistant I lived in Singapore and needed new clothes.   She installed me in a changing room and bought huge amounts of things for me to try on, plenty of which I would never have picked out for myself.  I ended up with two pairs of pants, this sweater and another top and a couple of pairs of shoes.  Very nice indeed, now I just need Tory to open up a store in Singapore...

Brow Tinting at Browhaus, Paragon

When I was younger I had luxuriant eyebrows: never a great shape, but thick and healthy and easy to shape into a proper arch.  As the years have gone by, over enthusiastic threaders and a dodgy thyroid have wreaked havoc on the frame of my face and nowadays my brows are sparse, which coupled with being blonde, makes them look rather puny.  Over the years numerous threaders and waxers have commented on their sparseness to the extent that now I start the threading conversation with something along the lines of 'I know there's not much there, but do your best".

This time, however, was different.  My therapist told me I actually had plenty of brows, but it was just the colour that meant they were invisible.  "You should get them tinted, and your eyelashes would look really good" she told me.  And as I had a few hours to kill and I was being talked to sweetly I hummed and hawed for all of 20 seconds and said "go on then".  Then as I lay there, eyes stinging with dye, I remembered that I know quite a few people who have done this and pretty much everyone has said afterwards they looked like Groucho Marx or Ernie (scrubbing the floor above).  I had that horrible feeling of dread, when you know you've made a big mistake and it's too late to turn back.

Actually the results are surprisingly good.  My lashes look fantastic and as someone who has blonde eyelashes and lives in the tropics it is fantastic not to have to wear mascara (which usually ends up halfway down my face anyway).  And my left brow looks fantastic; thick and well shaped and natural-ish (albeit a bit dark for my liking, but it will fade down fast).  The only problem I have is that my right brow is darker, noticeably I think, than the left.  So after my wonky pedicure I now have wonky brows...I am starting to see a worrying trend emerge.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Seriously Wonky Pedicure from Snails, Mandarin Gallery

When it comes to facials, massages and hairdressers I am seemingly incapable of seeing the same person more than twice.  But when it comes to pedicures, I have no desire to seek out new thrills - I either go to Snails at Mandarin Gallery or the Lac Bar at Millenia Walk, nowhere else.  I wasn't always such a stickler, but a bad experience where someone tried to use a blade on me (without asking) that I'd just seen used on the person sat next to me pretty much sealed it for me.  Hmmm I'll pass on the hepatitis thanks...

Lac Bar, I think, is the better pedicure.  They file and file until you have baby soft feet and the polish is always perfect.  But, they're not exactly fast - I swear sometimes you go in before lunch and head out again to find it's gone dark.  Today I needed fast and was on Orchard Road so popped into Mandarin Gallery.

Everything about this pedicure was perfect.  They have a fantastic selection of Essie and OPI colours (the picture above is Essie Limited Addiction, my shade of choice for today), excellent selection of magazines and I got a really good leg scrub and massage.  It was only when I got up to leave and looked down at my toes that I realised my therapist had filed both my big toe-nails at an angle, the nail was longer at the end of the foot and shorter at the side next to the next toe.  And she'd done this on both sides, so my toes looked like a rather quizical set of eyebrows, or two asymmetric fringes.

I hummed and awed about saying something.  "Does this look right to you?", I asked the lady on reception.  She looked and confirmed I was seeing (not) straight.  And really they couldn't have been nicer; they tried to level them out, they offered to take the polish off and start again (I didn't have time) and they said I could come back the next day if I was still unhappy.   I suspect to make them remotely straight they would have to cut my nails eye-wateringly short, so I am resigned to a few weeks of wonky toes...I'm even starting to get used to them now!